Woman who stole from 5 stores ‘a kleptomaniac’
A Kansas woman who admitted stealing over $6,000 in merchandise from five Aspen retailers was sentenced to a month in jail Monday.Elizabeth Karr, 44, of Lawrence, Kan., will serve the next 30 days in Pitkin County Jail ? time prosecutors say is suitable punishment for a woman they described as “in essence … a kleptomaniac, identified as such by two psychologists,” who partakes in “impulsive and unnecessary stealing.”Deputy District Attorney Kate Sullivan told the court that Karr’s thievery was proven unnecessary not only by the items she stole from various local stores ? jewelry, cocktail napkins, scented candles and novelty drink coasters, for example ? but also by her family’s income. As the owner of a small catering business, Karr makes almost $100,000 a year, Sullivan said, while Karr’s husband, a fire department battalion chief, earns nearly the same amount.After Karr pleaded guilty to attempted theft last month, she and her defense attorney admitted that the crime was the result of a psychological problem that “wasn’t diagnosed early enough.””Doctors told me I need years of therapy,” Karr sobbed to court officials during her sentencing hearing.She was sentenced to 90 days in Pitkin County Jail, but 60 of those days were suspended. She was also ordered to pay restitution for a number of stolen items that were not recovered, Sullivan said.Karr was apprehended by Aspen police on June 16 after a clerk at Pattie’s Gemagination Jewelers reported two rings, each worth over $2,000, and a watch were missing.The clerk said she remembered that a woman wearing a guest pass for the weekend’s Food & Wine Magazine Classic, bearing the name “Elizabeth Karr” on it, had left the store around the time the merchandise disappeared. The clerk also told police that the same woman was seen with her hand inside a jewelry display case.Police found Karr in her room at the Aspen Square Hotel, where she was questioned. An arrest warrant states that Karr denied taking part in the theft and showed APD officers a receipt from Pattie’s Gemagination for two silver band rings she had purchased on June 13.Police searched the premises with Karr’s permission and found a new titanium Citizen watch that was still on its display stand and a sterling silver ring with a purple stone in Karr’s suitcase.Karr told police she bought the ring in Kansas and the watch in Denver, but the Pattie’s clerk told police both items were identical to items sold at her store.Aspen police Detective Jim Crowley searched Karr’s purse, turning up several jewelry display stands as well as tags for jewelry and watches worth almost $6,000. The store clerk told police the stands are identical to those used at the store, and several of the price tags matched rings missing from the store’s inventory.The search of Karr’s room also turned up several lower-priced items from Aspen specialty stores, an arrest warrant shows. Police discovered two purses from Bloomingbirds; nine items, including candles and napkins, from Amen Wardy; 10 items such as perfumes and lotions from Cos Bar; and four items from Les Chefs D’Aspen. The 25 items from these four stores were worth a total of $1,200.Karr reportedly wrote letters of apology to each store after her arrest and expressed her regret to prosecutors once more before leaving the Pitkin County Courthouse on Monday.”I think I’ve had a mental illness my whole life … but this is making me face it,” she said.[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is email@example.com]
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Aspen’s dirty downtown alleys are enough of a blight that the city government is taking the initiative to clean them up this week.